Crew kidnapped off Benin in July are released

The 13 crew members kidnapped from chemical/oil products tanker MT Curacao Trader (IMO 9340908) in the Gulf of Guinea back in July (IMN, July 20th 2020), have been released. All are said to be safe and well.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed last week that seven Russian sailors were released on August 24th. The other six kidnapped sailors, from Ukraine, were also reported to have been released.

The Russian ministry said the release of the sailors had been achieved through the efforts of Russian Embassy officials in Abuja, in cooperation with Nigerian authorities and representatives of the shipowner.

The crew members were said to be at the regional headquarters of the Nigerian Navy in Port Harcourt. After they have undergone medical examinations they will be returned to Russia and Ukraine.

The tanker was boarded on July 17th some 210 miles of the coast of Benin. While 13 crew members were kidnapped, six seamen were left on board the drifting ship. MV Frio Chikuma, which was sailing nearby, helped navigate the Curacao Trader to a safe port.

The location of this incident, 210 miles from land, was said by Dryad Global to be the furthest from shore that pirates based around the Gulf of Guinea had kidnapped a crew.

On July 19th the managers said that “Alison Management wishes to advise that its prime concern remains the safety and recovery of its abducted crews and no effort shall be spared to achieve their soonest possible release”.

UK-based Lomar Shipping owns the vessel.

2007-built, Liberia-flagged, 7,687 gt Curacao Trader is recorded with Equasis as being owned by Curacao Traders Shipping Co Ltd care of manager Lavinia Corp of Athens, Greece. ISM manager is Alison Management Corp of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Kitty Shipping Co, Ltd.